As the end of the season approaches, we learn who will be released and who is in contention for postseason awards. Japanese links only today.
- Jose Fernandez left Orix's 10-8 loss to Seibu in the 7th inning after taking a batted ball to the face. He's out for the remainder of the season, and may be done with Orix. Literally adding insult to injury, the Orix front office commented that "his results don't match his salary." Fernandez hit .261 with 15 HR and 61 RBI, and is getting paid 100m yen ($1m) this year.
- Toshiya Sugiuchi is making a play for some Sawamura Award consideration. He K'ed 11 Rakuten Eagles on the 13th, his fourth straight game with double-digit punchouts, becoming the first lefty to ever accomplish the feat in the Pacific League. He now is tied for the lead league with 15 wins and has the lead in strikeouts all to himself.
- But then Yu Darvish said "not so fast" as he returned from injured reserve and shut down the Marines, allowing one run on six hits over eight innings. According to Nikkan Sports, however, the hardest he threw was 148 km/h (91 mph). Not his hardest fastball, but then again he never really needed to extend himself.
- SoftBank has passed the 2,000,000 mark for attendance again this season, reaching the milestone in their 65 home game.
- Hideki Irabu has been granted his release from the independent Kochi Fighting Dogs. He has tendinitis in his right thumb, and won't be able to return in time to play again this season, so he bit the bullet and is heading home to America to recover. He intends to continue his comeback.
- In place of the loss-making Asia Series, this autumn the Japan and Korea league champions will face off in the Nikan Club Championship. The game will be held on November 14 in Nagasaki.
- Veteran infielder Toshihisa Nishi is done with Yokohama at the end of the year, but wants to continue playing and will search for a new team this offseason.
- Hiroshima is looking to import pitching next year, notably of the lefthanded variety, and has mobilized US scout Eric Schullstrom to find some.